Top 23 Best Books On Buddhist Philosophy For Beginners And Advancers 2022

Best Books On Buddhism of All Time

Are you trying to find the very Best Books On Zen Buddhism? Buddhism sometimes seems cryptic. Other times it appears straightforward. At times it looks like it is informative. At times it feels like something all of us practice if we’re conscious of it.

Introduction to Buddhism

Founded in early India from Siddhārtha Gautama (the Buddha), Buddhism is now the 4th most prominent religion globally, with over 520 million adherents.

There are many Buddhism branches, such as Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, amongst others. However, in some variation, the majority of these customs deal with problems of anguish, death/rebirth, along leading a joyful life.

Buddhism builds upon a Couple of core concepts, like the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Course. The Buddha thought his teachings should not be considered abstract doctrine since they emerge in direct experience. Buddhism can be a clinic, not a religion to hold on to or worship.

Top Rated Best Books On Buddhism To Read

Top Rated Best Books On Buddhism To Read

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Buddhism is among the world’s oldest religions. Founded by Siddhartha Gautama, later called the Buddha, circa the 5th century BCE, Buddhism summarizes a course of personal spiritual enrichment through insight and meditation.

After the Buddha’s footsteps, Buddhists seek to achieve Nirvana, or enlightenment, a state of transcendence free from anguish, want, and the cycle of death and rebirth.

Contrary to Christianity or Islam, Buddhism doesn’t have one original text which sums up the faith’s basic tenets. What people call Buddhism now is truly an assortment of distinct philosophies and schools of thought, ranging from Zen to Mahayana and Theravada.

If you are trying to research Buddhism more deeply, here are the best books about Buddhism that both professionals and spiritual seekers can utilize to find out more about this historical heritage.

Are there some books on Buddhism and meditation that we overlooked? Tell Penn Book in the comments below.

Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings by William Edelglass and Jay L. Garfield

What is Buddhism? Even though the diversity of Buddhist schools of thought make it impossible to conjure the convention at one book, the new set.

Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings is as comprehensive an effort as any. This is a compact quantity, but its coherent demonstration of Buddhist doctrine in all of its variety makes diving worth the attempt.

Buddhist Philosophy: Essential...
48 Reviews

Taking the Path of Zen by Robert Aitken

One of the most useful how-to books for Zen students is Robert Aitken’s Taking the Path of Zen. Aitken (1917-2010), among the early leaders of Zen in the USA, teaches us not just how to sit also the reason we do.

Replete with practical instructions and guidance, such as stretching exercises, which make sitting simpler, there is no longer a comprehensive manual. It is a beautiful place to get started.

Start Where You Are by Pema Chödrön

From its very first sentence “We have everything we want” to its final, Start Where You prevent us in our paths. An American nun in the Tibetan tradition, Pema Chödrön takes subtle Tibetan teachings and translates them to direct talks. Through the book, Chödrön faces the habitual self-help instincts get rich, get educated, and drive us.

Chödrön’s directives are not strident or judgmental; instead, they’re reminders conveyed with patience, encouragement, and lighthearted humor. This is one of the best Pema Chödrön books – best book for buddhism beginners.

The Issue at Hand by Gil Fronsdal

This slender volume is much more than just an introduction; it includes gems of insight that will continue to excite and deepen your practice as it evolves.

Fronsdal’s training in Zen and Theravada, together with his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies, has provided him with a comprehensive grasp of dharma, which he presents clearly and correctly for a contemporary audience.

The dazzling short essays discuss issues from jealousy, metta, and karma to working together with anger and dread.

The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau Roshi

After The Three Pillars of Zen emerged in 1965, it had a massive impact on the management of Buddhism in North America. Zen teacher Philip Kapleau united a series of discussions for starting students by Yasutani Roshi using classic contemporary texts.

It delivers the first how to directions for Western professionals and is still one of the most influential and inspirational Zen books in the West.

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones is four miniature books that have a collection of Zen koans, stories, and teachings. It is offered in a pocket sized edition, which makes it appropriate for koan practice or to get a flash of Zen inspiration and bewilderment.

For meditation education, turn to the last section, known as Centering, a pre Buddhist text that lists 112 methods to achieve enlightenment.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

So starts this most treasured of American Zen books of Shunryu Suzuki. Seldom has such a limited number of words provided instruction as wealthy as this opening line.

In one stroke, the easy sentence cuts throughout the pervasive tendency pupils have of becoming so near Zen to miss what it is all about ultimately. Instantaneous teaching on the initial page. And that is only the start.

Since its first book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has grown into one of the excellent contemporary Zen classics, much cherished, considerably reread and much advocated as the first book to read on Zen.

Suzuki Roshi introduces the fundamentals by the particulars of breathing and posture in zazen into the understanding of nonduality in a means that’s not just remarkably apparent but also resonates with all the joy of penetration from the initial to the previous page.

It is a book to return to time and time again as an inspiration to the clinic. It’s currently available to a new generation of seekers within this fortieth anniversary edition, with a new afterword from the biographer of Shunryu Suzuki, David Chadwick.


The Sound of Silence by Ajahn Sumedho

Teachings from Ajahn Sumedho, a favorite American born instructor and creator of their first Theravada monastic community in the West, are hard to find in print. The talks gathered in this volume maintain his warm, humorous style and reflect his elastic teaching perspective as introducing items that you explore.

These spontaneous discussions are available, but they need focus. The name comes from a meditation practice Sumedho developed on his over forty decades of training, one not found in the Pali canon.

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching is a long time best Thich Nhat Hanh books. This fantastic introductory text is by Thich Nhat Hanh a prolific Zen master who has written many best Buddhism books for beginners.

Indoors, he covers the majority of the core teachings of the Buddha. Including the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the Three Dharma Seals, and even more. Additionally, you will not ever feel overwhelmed because it is expressed in easy to follow language appropriate to people just beginning.

Thich Nhat Hanh also attempts to associate all of the teachings of the Buddha to everyday life. You will consequently come out with a much clearer grasp of Buddhism and its pertinence for your very own day to day pursuits.

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

In 1975, this little, smooth, explicit book of Thich Nhat Hanh – The Miracle of Mindfulness was on several best book on Buddhism for beginner lists ever since.

Its simplicity is, in certain instances, deceptive. In its sensible suggestions for living a happier and more comfortable lifetime, attentive to the present moment, are a few of the most lucid explanations of fundamental Buddhist teachings I’ve seen everywhere.

I Suggest following this Thich Nhat Hanh book with The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching or Walpola Rahula What the Buddha Taught.

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An...
2,945 Reviews

Watch more: Oprah Winfrey talks with Thich Nhat Hanh Excerpt Powerful.

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Buddhism by Michael Williams

Now in its 4th edition, Buddhism is an excellent summary of this Buddha’s core teachings. Additionally, it brings to light the associated practices of yoga, meditation, and much more.

The book consists of true novices of Buddhism. You consequently won’t find much in the way of comprehensive philosophical talks. But it functions as a fantastic road map that traces key regions of Buddhism, which will further enhance your interest.

You will find Buddhism extremely informative if you are trying to find a manual on reducing stress in your everyday life in an enduring way.

What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula

Famous in many and scholarly circles, What Buddha Taught is a concise and loyal sharing of this Buddha’s core teachings. This timeless book was composed by a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk and realized academic.

The Buddha Thought escapes in a logical order because it exemplifies critical concepts through a dictionary of Buddhist scriptures.

You will also find the composing tremendously accessible nevertheless, profound in the center ideas it presents. In general, this Buddhism book is a fantastic read for novices in Buddhism.

Want to feel calmer? Here is our exclusive collection of books on Buddhism that will assist you in overcoming stress.

How to Practise: The Way to a Meaningful Life by Dalai Lama

Composed by the Dalai Lama himself, the way to practice addresses a key and profound question: “How do I lead a purposeful existence?”. Like most of the very best Buddhist books for beginners, you will be introduced to plenty of pragmatic instead of preachy information.

The book focuses on assisting you in leading a joyful, meaningful, and satisfying lifestyle. You will be encouraged to reflect upon your connection with other people and on your own. In this aspect, the way to practice is an educational self-help book grounded in Buddhist practice.

There is also an in-depth heat in the way to Practise is composed. The Dalai Lama’s words stream with profound compassion because he shines a light on an individual presence’s complex character.

How to Practice: The Way to a...
1,103 Reviews

Open Heart, Clear Mind by Ni su Thubten Chodron

Open Heart, Clear Mind is an easy to digest intro to Buddhism. It’s full of useful everyday information based on most of the Buddhist teachings.

You will be introduced to the emotional instead of mysterious advantages of Buddhism in the clinic. Additionally, Thubten Chodron injects a welcomed amount of comedy into his composing. This creates Open Heart, Clear Mind, an enjoyable yet informative read.

The Buddha and His Teachings by Narada Maha Thera

This beginner’s book tackles one easy question: “What did the Buddha teach?”. Based upon texts from Japanese, Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese specialists, you will discover that the Buddha and His Teachings become filled with philosophical and practical information for novices.

There is also a fantastic balance of mentioned classic and contemporary sources. Additionally, many talks are rather in-depth, going farther than many other books on Buddhist for novices. But, you will see the terminology is kept simple for simple comprehension.

Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron

Thubten Chodron is an ordained nun in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition. She’s also a California native who taught from the Los Angeles school program before starting her practice.

Since the 1970s, she has studied with lots of the fantastic teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, such as the Dalai Lama. Now she travels and writes, teaching Buddhism, and she’s the creator of Sravasti Abbey near Newport, Washington.

In these Buddhism books for beginners, Chodron presents the Fundamentals of Buddhism in a conversational, question and answer format. Individuals who advocate this book say the writer does a great job of clearing up misunderstandings about Buddhism and providing a Buddhist outlook on contemporary problems.


A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield, a psychologist, discovered Buddhism as a monk in the Theravada monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma. A Path With Heart, subtitled A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life, shows us how the practice based on meditation might help us prevent being at war together and direct a much more open hearted life.

Kornfield highlights the psychological elements of Buddhist practice. Readers Searching to Learn More on Theravada doctrines May Want to read A Path With Heart with Walpola Rahula What the Buddha Taught.

My Spiritual Journey by the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is broadly called the most influential religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism. In this book, Dalai Lama offers us a romantic story of his life, teachings, and service to humankind. He also expounds on his ethical responsibilities as a human being, as a Buddhist monk, and since the Dalai Lama.

My Spiritual Journey provides a superb introduction to Dalai Lama to get men and women who’d love to find out more about the Eastern faith. Additionally, it is the best Dalai Lama book for people seeking pleasure in their religious lives.

Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana

(Buddhism books covering the basics)

Bhante Gunaratana attempts to separate the myths from the realities of humor. He provides a practical manual to Vipassana meditation, also a more standard Buddhist practice. Also, he gives us a glimpse of the plethora of benefits we could obtain through mindfulness.

The book strikes a balance between being practical. It helps us develop consciousness in ourselves while listing tools for mindfulness and meditation. He discusses every instrument of meditation and how everyone may be used to deepen your mindfulness.

This is an excellent book to give as a gift to people with interest. The comprehensive introduction to mindfulness and meditation makes it a useful guide for novices while being detailed enough for people that are delving more in-depth in their meditation practice.

If you happen to be interested in meditation, go check out Top Best Meditation Books before reading on.

Buddhism (The World Religions) by Madhu Bazaz Wangu

Here’s a summary of Buddhism from its origins in India. The book of Buddhism summarizes how Buddhist notions spanned the planet and how it’s continued to rise over time.

Besides the background, Wangu’s account presents the foundational teachings of Buddhism and breaks down its three prominent colleges (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana).

I enjoy this book as a high starting point because it’s mostly a summary without sounding like a manual.

Buddhism For Bears by Claire Nielson

Bears can be cute! Buddhism can be enjoyable! Nielson invokes very straightforward Zen master ideas and reveals how bears can certainly follow them.

The Buddhism book breaks down the doctrine into segments such as Wisdom, Self-Control, Techniques, and Truth. We get a Buddhist idea like, what’s electricity? Then we see an extremely burly bear pondering energy and discovering his way into replies. If a bear can do it, so do we!

The Diamond Cutter – The Buddha on Managing Your Company and Your Life by Michael Roach

This book is a gem of spiritually empowering wisdom and practical business experience. It will teach you how to concentrate and what is necessary to turn your organization’s aspirations into achievement.

Throughout his seventeen years of expertise as a co-leader of this Andin International Diamond Corporation, Geshe Roach saw the company grow to be an international powerhouse.

In this book, he explains a method for achievement employing the Buddhist teachings from Tibetan lamas, religious teachers; he’s encountered in his life.


Singing For Freedom by Ani Choying Drolma

Tibetan Buddhist nun Ani Choying Drolma is famous globally for singing Buddhist music and mantras that inspire the listener into a kingdom of internal peace. She awakens compassion and triumph of the spirit within her voice and her narrative and humanitarian deeds.

The Buddhism book begins with her description of what she was before getting a nun at a Nepalese monastery. Hers was a male dominated planet where many girls were married against their will.

Her house was a particularly busy one, and discovering peace was complicated. There were not any other choices, and also for many, being a nun was not unthinkable.

Nevertheless, this method of life which nun Ani Choying changed from a once bitterly mad woman to a celestial being of heart and head.

Although she’s never been officially taught himself, Choying has opened a sizable school for women in Nepal (the Arya Tara School) that never existed in her youth.

She’s also begun an NGO called the Nuns’ Welfare of Nepal. Throughout it, she started the first kidney hospital in Nepal that made dialysis free for inferior men and women.

Not having anticipated becoming a singer, she participates in world concerts to finance her projects and exudes the blessings of Tibetan Buddhism upon those who listen.

Her vision is to enable all people to choose their sufferings as courses they can improve, instead of submitting themselves to the negativities, they confront.

Phoolko Aakhama

In Singing for Freedom, Choying talks of her expansion, encounters, and message outlined in her tune Phoolko Aakhama:

“In the eyes of a blossom, the entire world is a flower.

In the Opinion of thorns, the entire world is a thorn.

The shadow is represented according to the item.

May my heart be pure.

May my voice be Buddha.

May my toes never kill an insect.

In lovely eyes, the world opens up superbly.

Might I see the magnificent moon at the night?

May I hear the audio of existence in blissful moments.”

Thank you for reading and welcome your thoughts in the comment.

Which is your favorite in the above best books to learn about Buddhism?

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön

Things Fall Apart draws on ancient Buddhist teaching to provide techniques for overcoming life’s challenges and dealing with chaotic situations. Book offers those who are going through a difficult moment hope and encouragement.

It assists persons suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, or trauma in developing an intentional mentality to help them cope with the challenges of each day.


Buddhist Readings

Other Buddhist Readings Considerations

  • The Quantum and the Lotus by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan
  • Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective by Mark Epstein
  • Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience by Sharon Salzberg
  • Mudra: Early Songs And Poems By Chögyam Trungpa
  • The Suttanipãta By Bhikkhu Bodhi

FAQs About Buddha Books

Is Buddhism a religion or philosophy?

Buddhism is both a religion and a philosophy. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, who is also known as the Buddha, in the fifth century BCE.

What is the main message of Buddhism?

The main message of Buddhism is that we should try to end our suffering by cutting out the things that cause us to suffer. The main cause of our suffering is our desires and our attachment to the things that we desire.

What is the main teaching of Buddha?

The primary purpose of the Buddha’s teachings is to free sentient beings from suffering. The Three Universal Truths, The Four Noble Truths, and The Noble Eightfold Path are the fundamental teachings of Buddha that form the basis of Buddhism.


In conclusion, the best books on Buddhism are those that provide a comprehensive overview of the religion and its teachings. While there are many different interpretations of Buddhism, the core principles remain the same. These books can help you learn more about this ancient religion and its impact on the world today.

Last update on 2022-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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